Emerging Trends in eCommerce

eCommerce is a reality of modern day shopping experience. In today’s world, eCommerce is no longer a luxury for retailers but a necessity. It is not a “nice to have” but a “must have”. Well, for most, this is obvious, and for the rest, they’re still in 20th century.

Customer expectations while shopping online are higher than ever. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for savvy retailers to drive competitive advantage. To be a market leader, companies need to adapt emerging trends in eCommerce to ensure a superior online customer experience.

So what are the important steps for retailers to provide an excellent shopping experience to today’s consumers who use multiple devices and visit numerous online sites when shopping?

1. Browsing is Fun

Browsing should be compelling and functional on all browsers and devices. Your consumers are no longer using one device or browser for shopping. Potential growth of mobile/iPad in retail eCommerce is enormous. With the current projections, mobile/iPad will exceed desktop numbers in the next couple of years. Consumers expect the site to work seamlessly whether they are browsing through desktop or an iPad or a mobile. Things to look out for – are there features that will not work on an old browser or the latest iPad? Does the shopping interface work on smartphone screens? Responsive websites is the key.

Test the online customer experience using internal staff and mystery shoppers. These test shoppers should be able to intuitively browse products through your website, transact, checkout and process payments without any help. For some latest platforms, like iOS 6 and Android 4.2 Jellybean, advanced features can be enable like using the camera for barcode scanning to doing a virtual makeover for customers in store.

2. Streamlined Omni-channel shopping experience

Online shoppers have very little patience for inconsistencies between multiple channels. Not only browsers but also multiple channels of shopping need to be integrated. A product added in a basket at home is expected to be found in the basket when you go to the store or if you call up the call center. Similarly, buyers should be able to return goods purchased online to a physical store. It is vital that businesses understand the importance of providing a superior omni-channel experience.

3. Go Social

Your customers are all over on social websites – Facebook has a user base of 1.15 billion and amazing 699 million daily active users. This is a huge opportunity for retailers to take advantage of. Using Facebook Connect, various sets of data can be collected about users’ daily activity and that can be utilized to approach targeted customers, e.g. by offering promotion on most liked or most commented products, or recommending the same products when these consumers your store. Other social networks like Twitter, Pinterest, Groupon etc are fast catching up and offer great insights to savvy retailers.

4. Compelling Marketing Campaign

To effectively reach consumers, retailers need to develop compelling marketing messages that resonate in physical and digital forms. “Pull browsing” where customers ask for the information is rapidly changing to “push browsing”, where customers are shown information relevant to them based on their browsing or purchase history. For example, a consumer interested in toys is shown ads from various toy retailers whenever he is browsing on Internet. Marketing emails, an effective tool will soon turn into relevant SMS notifications when a customer is standing outside the physical store.

5. Content is the King

Keep your website relevant and fresh. Frequent users represent a major share of your sales, and customers will return if they know they are not looking into outdated information. Including blogs and social media and keeping all communication channels active is the key. This will enhance customer engagement and people will be able to identify with you and your products. Building your brand this way will eventually have positive impact on conversion of shopping customers (who are just surfing/comparing) to buying customers (who actually buy from your store).

6. Personalization

Combining online and offline data from various channels whether structured or unstructured provides those hidden consumer patterns which were never thought of. These patterns can be used to present personalized recommendations and content to the online customers. Most online shoppers warmly welcome product suggestions based on their personal preferences, purchases or browsing history. However a few prefer to remain anonymous and do not want their information to be stored. In either case, consumer information needs to be handled with discretion and be sufficiently secured.

Conclusion

There is a definite shift in consumer attitude and satisfaction when it comes to the Internet – online buying has become part of mainstream shopping and is here to stay. The challenge for companies now centers on providing the best customer experience and ensuring that user experience is seamlessly integrated across all channels consumer is exposed to. Consumers want to easily research and compare products, engage in a discussion where required, and have complete clarity when it comes to the total purchase cost as well as flexible delivery and return policies. The challenge is not only to ensure that shopping applications work on each device, but also that they make the best use of the features of each platform.

In the end, you win if the consumer wins.

Is your company ready for these trends in eCommerce that define the present and future of eCommerce?

Ecommerce and Its Evolution Into Mobility

Ten years ago ecommerce was still a cool buzzword that everyone wanted to try, but at that early point it was largely limited to the Business-2-Business world. The use of personal computers, mobile phones and the internet was still experiencing its first period of growth, so the average person sitting in front of their behemoth CRT monitor hadn’t grasped the potential of the web quite yet.

It didn’t take long though. Soon dot.com companies selling anything from sock puppets to toothbrushes at unbelievably low prices were popping up all over the place. Beady eyed investors saw the potential in dot-coms: little overhead and massive profit. The credit industry chimed in with low interest rates and blanket application acceptances, knowing there was money to be made. Unfortunately and predictably, the house of cards fell. Dot-coms were collapsing by the dozens and investors saw billions of dollars seemingly evaporate into thin air within a very short period.

Since that dark period in the early history of ecommerce, there have been countless research studies conducted in an effort to answer the desperate whys and how’s being screamed from bankruptcy courts around the nation. By now we have all heard the answer explained in long winded speeches about boom and bust cycles etc. In the end the collapse of the dot.com bubble was the inevitable outcome of greed on a massive scale, more specifically, unchecked greed with few security protocols and no governing body.

The birth of the 1990’s brought a wider availability of personal computers and the internet, but the 21st century brought mobility to the internet. According to CTIA the Wireless Association, there were just over 109 million mobile phone users in the US in 2000, that’s 38% of the population. Of course at that point the smartphone was clunky and fairly unusable so few people owned one. Eight years later the number of mobile phone users more than doubled to 262 million, 85% of the population. Now the Neilson Company predicts by the end of 2011 at least 49% of Americans will have a smartphone and 51% will still be using their feature phone (out of the 96% of the population that uses a mobile device).

Between 2000 and 2011 there has been an about-face on the part of ecommerce. Security platforms have become more stable and widely used so trust has now been built. User interfaces evolved into dynamic places where visitors felt both stimulated to buy, yet secure in handing over credit information. Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley has amalgamated data from Japan that shows online commerce and paid services accounted for a whopping 32% of mobile revenue in 2008. We all know technology progresses faster than the Roadrunner, and we are equally aware that Japan and China are usually the first to set trends in technology. That begs the question, has the west fully realized the potential of ecommerce yet? Or are we still remembering the chaos of the 90’s?

The same report by Mary Meeker, dubbed the Queen of the Internet by Baron’s magazine in 1998, shows North American and European nations use of ecommerce on a mobile platform accounts for less than 14% of mobile revenue (2008). Are we still scared? No, we are being gouged. North Americans have some of the highest mobile phone bills in the world. Canada in particular generates an average of $55 revenue per user per month; the US isn’t much better sitting at $48. India is the most fortunate; making the phone companies about $5 per user per month.

Mobile ecommerce is the future; there is no doubt about it. For the average North American the ability to buy almost anything with a smartphone is far too convenient to give up simply because our data plan sucks. We may not spend as much as the Japanese, but we sure know the value of ecommerce. Then again, as humans we are cursed with the innate habit of reacting to the here and now. The bill is out of sight, and therefore out of mind. We are also experts at rationalization. The value of using an internet fax service to send a document to a client via your smartphone far outweighs the value of physically delivering it. The flexibility and potential of the smartphone and ecommerce has placed a much higher value on time. What we choose to do with that time saved is the subject of a whole other article.

The History of the Internet and Ecommerce

The History of Internet and Ecommerce is very interesting and considered very important. 20th century is very important in the history of the science. Radio and Television are developed and these are the best mode of communication. Televisions and radios are used across the world. After the passage of few years telephone was introduced. Those are very popular and common mode of communication. This type of communication includes two persons only. But after the arrival of the internet technology, the communication life style totally changed. Internet technology allows millions of peoples to communicate with each other. Internet changes the living style of the peoples economically. Every single person gets benefit from the internet facility.

All old technologies are limited but the internet technology is a vast network and has grown very fast. A vital impact of the internet is on social, cultural, on military and overall business of the world. Internet introduces electronic business called Ecommerce. Ecommerce introduces the online business system. It is a very simple and the easiest way to run business. Now there is no need to meet with buyers and sellers. Just visit website the order any thing which you want. A bog effort is behind the History of the Internet and Ecommerce.

Internet started with Sputnik Satellite by the Soviet Union in 1957. The Advance Research Project Agency was creating the technology that was helpful for military. This should be protecting the security of the country. It is called DARPA (Defense Advance Research Projects Agency). The objective of the US DARPA is to develop the communication protocols. The entire computer connected with a network called interconnected project and share the information. The protocol which was developed is called Transmission Control Protocols and Internet Protocols. The real internet is known as ARPAVET introduces in 1968 but practically use in 1970. It was a very early stage of the internet. In 1986, the United State develops the National Science Foundation (NSF) which provides the better communication for the internet. After this US introduces The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The History of the Internet and Ecommerce are connected with each other. Ecommerce is the best service for those who want to work at home. The history of ecommerce is comes from Electronic Data Transfer (EDT) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). It is the only mode of electronic transaction in 1970s. After the development of online market, the websites were developed and for shopping and other purposes credit cards and ATMs services was introduces. It is a big change of the History of Internet and Ecommerce. Goods are bought or sold through electronically and now it is a very simple and easy mode of trading.

After 1990s is the period of hosting the first static web page. This website is connected to individuals, government, and the other organizations with each other. After 2000, the websites is specially designed for ecommerce and for this purpose the demand of the computer software is rapidly increase. This was also change the history of ecommerce and internet. The demand of the music, games, software were increase, and the people buy or download these things. A financial industry was developed and the online market is change into global market. Mostly peoples working from home and doing different types of jobs. It also built the awareness in peoples about the product and their prices of different areas. Now, online trading, investment and many more is very simple and easy.